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  • Police deployment on the streets of Quito, Ecuador, October, 2019.

    Police deployment on the streets of Quito, Ecuador, October, 2019. | Photo: Twitter/ @manabi_noticias

Published 25 June 2020
Opinion

The Defense Ministry expected the Army to support the Police in the country's internal control.

Ecuador's Constitutional Court Wednesday suspended the validity of an agreement whereby the Defense Ministry authorized the progressive use of force by the military and police.

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That ministerial decision was widely rejected by a population that has continued to express its dissatisfaction with the performance of President Lenin Moreno's administration.

The suspension will be in effect until the CCE Plenary adopts a decision on an unconstitutionality complaint filed by human rights organizations.

In May, during a state of emergency set to avoid protests, the Defense Ministry allowed the Army to make progressive use of force in cases related to public gatherings, rallies, demonstrations, internal disturbances, and other "internal violence" situations.

Human rights defenders stressed that such a decision violated the Constitution because the Armed Forces cannot support the police in maintaining internal order since their function is limited to the defense of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The approval of the progressive use of force happened eight months after the popular protests that paralyzed Ecuador for 11 consecutive days, which were marked by the violent actions of the police and the army against Indigenous peoples, students, and workers.

In October 2019, thousands of Ecuadorians took to the streets to protest against budget cuts, the payment of the foreign debt, and other neoliberal measures.

At least 11 people died, 1,340 people were seriously injured and 1,192 citizens were detained, according to the Ombudsman's Office.

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